My friend's children have tea at my house twice a week- it's too much!

(26 Posts)
Sunnysas Wed 24-Apr-13 03:13:20

My friends two ds have tea at my house twice a week. My husband works away and she is divorced so I occasionally offered to give her ds their tea on a Thursday before our boys went to beavers. This is convenient to her as I live near the scout hut whereas she lives 15 mins away in the car. Also the beavers drop off time clashes with her 11 yr olds football training. She arrives at 5:15 after dropping her 11yr old off at football I feed my three dc and her 7 yr old before dropping off at beavers at 6:00. She collects 11 yr old from football brings him to my house and I give him his tea before beavers pick up. This routine is now set in stone. In the beginning I was glad to help as she struggles juggling everything on her own and the 7 yr old wouldn't be able to go to beavers. Also it was nice to have company. However both our boys now do tennis on a Tuesday ( again near where I live). Tennis finishes at 5:30 and she comes to my house for tea before rushing off to football training for 7 yr old. She now expects tea every week on a Tuesday and Thursday. I seem to do all the work while she sits on the sofa playing with her phone and then goes home to a tidy house whilst i'm left with the mess five children can make. As you can see I'm feeling very resentful. I'm tired and overwhelmed and feel I have no control over my life or house. I don't mind once a week but twice is TOO MUCH! I might want to help MY kids with their homework or do chores! I feel guilty for feeling like this as she is a good friend to me. I don't want to fall out with her but I need a break - any ideas?

GiveMumABreak Fri 26-Apr-13 14:41:11

Sunny, how did it go? Did u say anything? (Maybe she's still away putting her house back together after a busy week of meals and childcare)

TanteRose Fri 26-Apr-13 02:58:29

ooh yes, what happened??

twofalls Thu 25-Apr-13 20:54:48

How did if go sunny, have you said something?

cheeseandpineapple Wed 24-Apr-13 08:29:26

Cheeky friend! Agree with the poster that said if Thursday/Beaver night works for you, stick with that but would be inclined to give her a shout from the kitchen to ask her to help with things eg set the table, clear up, load the dishwasher etc and alternate her bringing food so just ask her to bring food every other week.

Starting from today or tomorrow, text her to ask if she can bring stuff for tea for tomorrow or on the day and then when she's over ask her to help you out rather than let her sit on the sofa on the phone. Just a friendly shout from the kitchen for a hand with something.

On Tuesday text her earlier in the day and tell her you're tired and can we give tea together a miss today as I need a bit of quiet time at home later, love having you and the boys over but Thursdays generally better for doing tea together.

Formal speak about terminating the arrangement don't really work with friends and being direct can tarnish a friendship so I agree with the suggestions that you may need to make some gentle excuses at least for the Tuesday so she gets the hint and if that doesn't work then aim to be more direct.

I'm generally pretty direct in the work place but friendships need to be dealt with more tactfully. You sound like a lovely friend and hopefully she'll step up more so that Thursday works for you both and Tuesday is phased out.

GiveMumABreak Wed 24-Apr-13 08:14:50

You are not alone OP this is just the sort of thing I get myself into. You are a kind and generous friend, obviously a great mum and a good organiser - as TheReal said, this happens when you are (or appear) too capable!
I think as mums we are programmed to be helpful, nurturers and 'fixers' but seriously the arrangement you have 'fallen into' with your friend is ridiculous - you are right to feel resentful and your DH is also right to have an issue with providing meals for other children.
I think you have to be honest, tell her you are finding tea at yours twice a week too much and that you are happy to continue with the original thurs arrangement, but Tuesdays are too much for you.
Or, perhaps take a break from both tues and thurs for a while for ever subtle hints don't work with people who are taking advantage just be straight forward and honest.
I suspect she will completely understand and take it well, and your friendship will benefit from the honesty. Good luck, come back and tell us how it went!

Blu Wed 24-Apr-13 08:06:28

Direct but gentle. Just say that two nights with people for tea is not working in terms of catching up with homework and household stuff.

Maybe start with one week at a time and say 'oh sorry, just to let you know we can't do Tues, homework / after school dentist / project / not combing. Then the next week say ' I'm not sure I can be reliable for a regular Tue tea as we have a lot to pack in'.

The thing is it sounds as if her real reason is to have some company for herself. So ditch the tea and arrange to go for a drink, if she can get a sitter?

DumSpiroSpero Wed 24-Apr-13 07:59:32

I'd probably be inclined to blame it on homework - teachers have said DSs could do with a bit more 1-2-1 time with x subject at the moment so need to keep Tuesday evening free.

nilbyname Wed 24-Apr-13 07:52:37

Just say, I cant do Thursdays for tea anymore. Then say nothing else. The silence might be filled with her asking why, and simply say, the current arrangement is too much for me and I need to cut it back, I know you understand. Then leave it.

Snazzynewyear Wed 24-Apr-13 07:51:35

I would say something directly, or you risk her not understanding, but do it gently. My suggestion is a version of the truth - say you have been feeling very tired, overwhelmed and run down, medical advice is to take it a bit easier so you would like to go back to just doing tea on Thursdays. Once the routine is broken it will be easier to avoid getting back into it now you know twice a week is too much.

FoundAChopinLizt Wed 24-Apr-13 07:44:15

Invent an imaginary tutor/lover who is arriving at yours at 5.50 on Thursdays? And she can't tell anyone else because you only trust her to keep your secret.

<<evil cackles>>

Inncogneetow Wed 24-Apr-13 07:38:29

Summer is a great time to make a change like this; if it's easier for her not to keep tripping home with her children, they could just have a picnic in a local park or something.

NewFerry Wed 24-Apr-13 07:30:41

I have just re-read your post. I can fully see how the beavers night works, and you are a very kind friend for offering.
But. If tennis finishes at 5-30 and that's it for your boys for the night, then really she is being very unreasonable to expect to come back to yours for tea.
If you can't face saying no, how about having some (pretend) errands to run after tennis, for 2-3 weeks till she gets the message?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 24-Apr-13 07:22:50

If the friendship will unravel because you no longer want to do this favour, then you don't HAVE a friendship and therefore have nothing to lose by saying that you want to stop doing it.

Tell her that you won't be able to have them any more. If she falls out with you - it means that she was using you.

A friend won't say anything other than 'no problem, thanks for having done it for so long'.

TheRealFellatio Wed 24-Apr-13 07:18:17

Not helpful or kind?

Blimey, you sound like a primary school headmistress speaking to a five year old. Some people do do stupid things, me included. I think the word is fine. Don't be so patronising - to me, or the OP.

bigbuttons Wed 24-Apr-13 07:15:08

'stupidly find yourself offering?'
'stupidly' is not a helpful or kind word to use.

TheRealFellatio Wed 24-Apr-13 07:12:25

This is what happens when you seem too capable, too welcoming and too accommodating. you get taken advantage of. Cancel the second thing, the tennis night. If she can't make it work without relying on someone else's generosity then she'll just have to accept that her kids can't go. It's as simple as that.

how did she come to 'expect' this arrangement on tennis night? did you stupidly find yourself offering, in spite of everything, or did she ask?

bigbuttons Wed 24-Apr-13 07:12:04

Just say you can only do one day.

Just be honest, if she is a friend she will understand, if not you dont need her as a friend.

TanteRose Wed 24-Apr-13 07:07:11

you know, if I were you, I would just say no to the whole thing!

it sounds exhausting

again, just tell her "this arrangement is not working for us"

maybe use the fact that your DH is not happy either...

if she is any sort of friend, she will be grateful for the help you have given so far (I somehow doubt this...)

good luck and stay strong smile

Sunnysas Wed 24-Apr-13 07:06:02

If she knew how I felt she would be upset and hurt. I want to find an excuse not to have her which is quite gentle. I'm partly responsible for letting it get this far without speaking out and I'm worried that once I do our friendship will unravel.

Sunnysas Wed 24-Apr-13 07:02:14

She will bring food if I say I have nothing in. My husband does complain about the food issue (I'm working away to feed another family etc)but for me it's the relentlessness of the routine that is getting me down. I need a little space! Also it's not really convienient for me to go to hers.

TanteRose Wed 24-Apr-13 03:59:31

also (sorry!) she needs to be contributing to food etc.

next time, ask her to bring pizza or a salad or something

say you have nothing in

TanteRose Wed 24-Apr-13 03:58:36

also, you are a saint flowers

I can understand the dcs coming to yours if they all have beavers, but I don't understand why the 11 yr old footballing DS has to have tea at yours - why can't she make sandwiches for him? confused

TanteRose Wed 24-Apr-13 03:56:50

"Hi, <friend>, about your DCs coming to mine for tea etc, unfortunately, from now on, I can only do Thursdays. It is not convenient on Tuesdays"

do not say sorry, do not offer explanations, just stick to "its not working for us to have your kids here on Tuesdays"

<channels expat> grin

agree that she is no friend if she gets arsey about it

twofalls Wed 24-Apr-13 03:22:31

You just need to tell her that you are finding it a bit much to do 2nights but you are more than happy to do one. Just say you are feeling knackered and overwhelmed and you are not finding time fore homework so could you just stick to the original Tuesday. If she gets shitty then she is not a good friend anyway.

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